January 2019 \ Cover Story \ DIPLOMATIC INTERVIEW
“There is momentum in Finland-India relations”

From growing interest among Finnish businesses in India to greater tourism flow from India to Finland, plenty of bilateral action is happening on either side. Besides, trade flow is improving and with a few more likely agreements in place soon, volumes are expected to go up significantly. Ambassador Nina Vaskunlahti who has completed two years in India spoke to Editor and Publisher SayantanChakravarty on a range of subjects highlighting India-Finland relations

                    Interview with H.E. Ms Nina Vaskunlahti, Ambassador of Finland to India

According to the Global Happiness Index 2018, Finland is the happiest nation in the world. It is also among the most peaceful nations in the world. What factors would you say contribute to the happiness quotient of Finland?

To be honest, when I heard that Finland had been declared the happiest country in the world, it took me a bit by surprise. The Finns are generally considered silent and inward looking, so it set me thinking about the happiness factors. This is how I can size it up for you—our relatively small nation of 5.5 million people can boast of a fairly high quality of life where things actually work and get delivered on the ground. We have the infrastructure and a robust health and education system. Our social service is second to none. The ambient air quality is very good. There is constant access to a green ecosystem and nature in its purest form. Noise levels are very low, as a result people do find a lot of silence to reflect, take decisions and contemplate. Privacy is well respected. All this perhaps raises the happiness quotient by several notches.

Let me also mention that if on rare occasions things do not work out, we have the confidence that help and solution is not too far away. People are, therefore, able to stay pretty relaxed. It is also a very safe country to be in. Children can go to schools, parks and other places unaccompanied and the parents know that they’ll be safe.

We are also a democratic, open and peaceful society. We tolerate different attitudes and cultures, it is easy to be one’s own self while living in Finland. You could say we are a pressure-free society. When you combine all this with the overall feeling of safety and security, it naturally makes for happy minds. But do remember, we have had to work very hard to get where we are today—to become the world’s happiest nation.

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